***/**** Image A Sound A Extras A+
written and directed by Paul Vischer and Mike Nawrocki
by Walter Chaw Sort of Monty Python-lite with a Christian message, the VeggieTales direct-to-video series of didactic sketches is, I'm told, the top-selling home video series in history, speaking at once to the creepy rise of grotesquely hypocritical religiosity in the United States and the fact that VeggieTales, judging by its first feature-length film Jonah, is extremely clever and entertaining. Packed with visual gags and semi-subtle references (a "Moby Blaster" video game in a seafood reference recalls Melville's fondness for the Jonah tale), Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie is a bouncy Christian animated musical with a handful of compulsively catchy tunes and some crisp computer-imaging work. It occurred to me a few times during the course of the picture that as far as Christian entertainment goes, this is the first product that didn't disqualify the term as an oxymoron.